The police departments of New Haven and the Metropolitan Transit Authority are now formally investigating the discovery of severed body parts roughly two weeks ago as a homicide, after DNA testing identified that the pair of severed legs found belonged to a homeless man last seen alive on May 20.
NHPD spokesman David Hartman said in a press release Monday morning that the pair of legs found on July 15 near the State Street train station belonged to Ray Roberson, a 54-year old homeless man from the city. DNA testing conducted by the Division of Scientific Services of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection matched the legs to Roberson, after samples of the discovered body parts were compared to DNA taken from people with criminal convictions. However, the identity of the man whose severed arms were also found that day has not yet been determined.
According to the state’s judicial branch, Roberson was arrested in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012 for counts including disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and violation of a protective order.
On May 5, according to state records, Roberson was arrested by Yale Police Department for a breach of peace in the second degree. He was released with a promise to appear in court on June 17, Hartman said, but he failed to do so. His next court appearance was scheduled for Aug. 3.
Hartman said Roberson was not reported missing, even though he was last reported alive over two months ago.
Investigators are still attempting to identify the person to whom the severed arms belonged.
“At this point in the investigation, the identification of the found arms have not been matched to the found legs,” Hartman said in the release.
The case is now formally being investigated as a homicide, though there is no information indicating where the homicide or dismemberments occurred. However, Hartman said the case appears to be personal, and not the result of a random crime.
Hartman said he is not certain the case will stay in New Haven. State troopers with cadaver dogs will continue an expanded search for more body parts, but none have been found so far.
Roberson’s photo has been released by authorities, and anyone with information that could assist the investigation is encouraged to inform the police department.